All workers in the United States have rights when it comes to job safety. Your employer has the legal obligation to provide you with a work environment that is reasonably safe. You also have the right to raise concerns about safety without fear of retaliation.
One of the most common types of accidents is a ladder fall, and it can happen in all manner of industries. Workers use ladders in stores to reach high shelves. Construction workers use them every day. Warehouse workers use them when pulling orders. There are countless examples, and every one relates to a potential fall risk.
With all the advancements in technology today, workplace leaders have no excuse for exposing their employees to unsafe workplace environments. Electronic devices that can efficiently alert all employees to immanent dangers and emergencies can play a key role in keeping everyone safe, no matter how large the campus or employee population may be.
Laboratory workers in Minnesota may face serious dangers at work, especially if they handle biological, chemical, radioactive or other toxins on the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are over 500,000 lab workers in the United States. OSHA has issued laboratory standards to provide federal guidelines for workplace safety in order to protect these workers from physical injuries, toxic exposure and occupational disease. The guidelines apply to a variety of laboratory settings, including academic labs, chemical storage rooms and loading docks for laboratories.
Fall protection violations are the most widely cited of all OSHA violations. This is unsettling when one considers how falls are responsible for 15% of worker deaths in general and 33% of construction worker deaths in particular. Every year, work-related falls cost Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. around $7 billion in workers' compensation claims and medical care.
Construction workers in Minnesota need to be aware of the dangers of inhaling crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is a dangerous mineral that causes a condition known as silicosis. Over 2 million construction workers and 300,000 workers in the hydraulic manufacturing, maritime and general industry fields are exposed to it.
As the retail business model evolves, it may place warehouse workers in Minnesota and throughout the country at a greater risk of injury. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate for warehouse workers is 5.1 per 100 workers. There were 22 warehouse fatalities in 2017, which was double the number recorded in 2015. One risk that workers may face is increased interaction with robots and other autonomous machines.
Warehouses in Minnesota and throughout the country are supposed to observe certain safety standards and work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding any accidents or deaths that occur on the job. Reports from multiple media outfits say that for several years, Amazon did not have adequate safety regulations in place for its warehouse employees and did not keep adequate records of injuries.
A study published in the Journal of Community Health has found that nearly half of all protective service workers and military workers in Minnesota and across the U.S. suffered the consequences of short sleep duration in 2018. These two groups, the former of which include police officers and firefighters, are the most sleep-deprived of all occupation groups.
Workplace safety will ideally be a point of emphasis for companies in Minnesota and throughout the nation. However, safety cultures are generally created and fostered by company owners and top managers. Furthermore, business owners are typically better able to foster such cultures by actively advocating for what they want to see. For instance, senior leadership should create an environment in which workers feel comfortable reporting accidents or looking out for hazards on their own. They should also feel comfortable helping each other stay safe on the job.